Hundreds of children, mainly from Jamestown, an Accra suburb, at the weekend fought the urge to sleep to catch glimpses of the 2022 ‘Chalewote’ festival and ride in on the fun-filled event.
The children, some as young as four years, were spotted meandering the jammed streets, which were full of activities-arts exhibitions, dancing, eating, face-painting, and games all night long.
A few of them were engaged in night boxing, arm-wrestling, and face-painting, others, economic activities-selling and cultural performances.
Nii Kpakpo, 8, a class three pupil was spotted by the GNA fetching firewood for her mother at 2135 hours through the cramped streets.
He looked tired and stopped occasionally on the shoulders of the street to rest both arms. While resting, he danced to some local tunes from blaring loudspeakers lining the streets.
Kpakpo declined a photograph but appeared excited.
“I came here to explore and gain a thorough understanding of the festival, how people have dressed, and have a look at those painting themselves and those having their faces drawn,” Chelsea Naa Koshie Lamptey, another eight years old girl, said.
Samuel Nii Kotey, a 12-year-old boy, who was seen shivering due to the cold weather, said though he was sleepy and feeling cold, those will not deter him from participating in the event and having “fun, or enjoying myself.”
“This is my first visit, so I’m here to have fun, enjoy myself, and partake in the event. I’m feeling cold and a little sleepy, but that won’t stop me from accomplishing my goal,” he said
Jerry Quaye, Emanuel Aborhey, and Michael Amofah, all teenagers, said: “We are dancers, so we go around and perform for people so that they pay us something small, so intentionally, we are here for some money, you know.”
But experts say there are some long-term effects on children’s health when they do not get good sleep every night.
Young adults, 18 to 25 years are expected to have seven to nine hours of sleep, school-age children from six to 13 years are to sleep nine to 11 hours while teenagers from 14 to 17 are expected to sleep for eight to 10 hours a night.
They say lack of sleep can cause the impaired memory-the ability to think, remember and process information.
Other impacts of not having enough sleep include a weakened immune system, the risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, risk of heart disease, weight gain, and poor balance- making one more prone to falls and other accidents.
Yes, basic schools are on vacation, and it is important children have some fun and playtime, but it is equally necessary that parents and guardians keep watch over children and ensure that they have enough rest and remain in good health before going back to school
The festival, which began in 2010 as a street art exhibition and food fair in “Mantse Agbonaa,” has since expanded to become a city-wide phenomenon that draws about 45,000 visitors each year to enjoy live music and artistic activities.
The James Fort, Ussher Fort, old slave-trading base Franklin House and Brazil House form the setting of the week-long festival.
Mantse Aryeequaye, Co-founder and Festival Director of ‘Chalewote,’ described the festival as “an effort to disrupt the conventional method of interacting with art, while reinventing how we use previous colonial sites, especially in Ghana.”